The Writeoff Association 927 members · 663 stories
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RogerDodger
Group Admin

Event overview

Please refrain from saying anything that might compromise your anonymity. Doing so is grounds for disqualification. It's recommended you do dummy reviews of your own stories should it otherwise be easy to deduce which you wrote.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Oh yeah, that's what was happening on the 23rd. :B Good thing I've got my month's quota set!

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

I'll be driving all Friday evening, at a wedding most of Saturday, and hiking Sunday, so... :applecry:

Flashgen
Group Contributor

Good thing I have a 3-day weekend. Hopefully I get some inspiration for this one.

alexmagnet
Group Contributor

I'm holding out hope that the prompt that gets selected will work with one of the ideas I already have so I only have to do minimal work when brainstorming the plot.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3294336
That's what I do. :B

Flashgen
Group Contributor

Man, that is a lot of prompts to pick from.

Also, I feel bad for probably spacing out and submitting a prompt that differs from another by one word. That's gonna split some potential votes.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

Crap. Why do I always find out about these late?

Gonna be a bit of a crowded weekend, but who cares, I'm writing anyway!

FloydienSlip
Group Contributor

I think I'll be able to make this one. We'll see.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3300129
That was highly amusing.

I voted for both. :V

Flashgen
Group Contributor

3301182

Well, it was good enough to get one vote. That makes me happy.

Pascoite
Group Contributor

[joins group to comment] I've had to do this before, and I think it might be worth a refresher.

Please keep things civil and constructive in these threads. The last one wasn't that bad, but there was some questionable behavior. One reviewer made an oh-so-clever sarcastic remark about one of my stories, though he was the only one who didn't understand what the word meant that he found questionable. In any case, I can take it. But the point is that he didn't know whom he was addressing in that manner. I was ready to rip into him because of that, but as I finished reading and voting on the entries myself, and could then read his other reviews without fear of biasing my opinions, I saw that he hadn't used that tone with anyone else. So maybe it was just an outlier.

When these write-offs started years ago, they were great fun, and the entrants really looked forward to the discussion and feedback they got more so than the competition itself, as they'd learn a lot in the process. It was all friendly and constructive. Gradually, they got more competitive to the point that discussion got downright nasty, and a couple of us had to step in to ask everyone to tone it down. It had lost its fun, and a lot of regular participants stopped showing up after that or only halfheartedly joined in. It scared off a lot of new participants, and they haven't been as well attended ever since. That's also one of the main reasons I stopped posting reviews of the entries, except for people who explicitly asked for a review when I made the offer.

Please note the following:
- There are a number of new and inexperienced writers who join these write-offs. I do not want to see them discouraged from writing because of what is said here. If they're thin-skinned about fair criticism, that's one thing, but if they're insulted and ridiculed, that's quite another.
- While getting reviewed is often part and parcel of these things, it's also not inherently requested by the writers. If I approach someone and ask for a review, I know what I'm getting into and can't complain about the tone used. If I enter because it's fun and it motivates me to write, but I'm not up for no-holds-barred sarcasm, don't assume that's what I want.
- In short, treat every author as if they're a first-time entrant whom you don't want to scare off from participating next time, because they just might be. Honest is fine. Caustic is unnecessary.
- It's a low blow to finagle anonymity to your advantage, i.e., noticing that people don't understand your story, then posing as a third party who got it and wants to explain it to everyone, only to turn out to be that story's author.
[unjoins group]

Filler
Group Contributor

The prompt this time is Beneath the Mask!

Jonathon Smythe
Group Contributor

Let the writing commence!

Flashgen
Group Contributor

This one is gonna take some thinking...

Good luck to everyone.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

I like this prompt. :) Though I expect lots of Power Ponies fics and "we thought we knew X, but we've been fooled all along".

inb4 everyone throws out their fic ideas :V

Belligerent Sock
Group Contributor

Ha ha! It only took three tries, but now, finally, that prompt has triumphed!

Let the writing commence.

Sadly, working heavy shifts all three days of the weekend, plus my own stories that have been getting put off. So going to bow out of this one. Best of luck to everyone else! Count yourselves lucky that you get things like weekends off :rainbowwild: (and by weekends off, I really mean time off in general)

Flashgen
Group Contributor

3304599

Though I expect lots of Power Ponies fics...

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Eight and a half hours to go, and no submissions? :( People are still working, right?

Flashgen
Group Contributor

3309916

I'm tryin', PP.

Pearple Prose
Group Contributor

3309916

I have 3888 words and on my penultimate scene.

gotta go fast

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3310003
I know one person who dropped out earlier today, which is why I'm concerned. At least we're up to two now.

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

3310196
I'm doing my best. This thing is turning out to be soooo rushed. ;_;

Flashgen
Group Contributor

3310196

Well, it's a wash for me... sorry PP. I wanted to give more Power Ponies, but hopefully there's some there already.

horizon
Group Admin

3310196
Without compromising anyone's anonymity, I know enough to inform you that (at least) one more fic will be posted which hasn't yet gone up.

3309916 Sorry, PP :pinkiesad2: Would if I could have...

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

Done and with ten minutes to spare! Now I can go and make some damned dinner and cry into it.

RogerDodger
Group Admin

Gallery

There's more than three times as many words as last event (with triple the time), so participation seems stable, which is good.

Jonathon Smythe
Group Contributor

I might've been able to try and write something, but I had to get my laptop resituated. Ah well, there's always next time.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Well, ten stories isn't bad. :) Looking forward to reading these! Although I don't feel like writing a fake review of my story, so I may just wait until everything's over to post my reviews. :B

FloydienSlip
Group Contributor

Had cousins come up to visit, so I was stuck entertaining them all weekend. Hopefully everyone else had fun writing. I'll attempt to post reviews of the stories this week.

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

3311459
I think I'll do the same. I'll write my reviews but save them for after the results come in.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3311877
Aaaactually, I'm gonna modify this.

Anyone who wants a short review, PM me. Let me know the name of your story and I'll give you what I would have posted. I've read all the stories, so it won't affect my vote, and of course your anonymity is safe with me. That way, if I've got five or fewer left in a day or two, I can post the rest and secure my own anonymity. :V Everyone wins!

horizon
Group Admin

Well, this is interesting. Reading through the submissions (because clearly I have nothing better to do like write Hard Reset 2 today), let's do a tally of who's "masked". I note:
- two fics about Princess Celestia (and/or her hoofmaiden)
- two about Princess Cadence
- one about Princess Luna
- two about Princess Pinkie Pie
- one about Derpy Hooves
- one about changelings
- one about OCs

This is a rather princessy round, which to my mind makes it a good one.

FloydienSlip
Group Contributor

3311877
3311888 Also changing mine to what PP's doing. Inbox me for feedback.

zaponator
Group Contributor

Oh man, I didn't even know there was a discussion group here! (Until Raz told me :rainbowwild:)
Gotta say, this was loads of fun. Gonna try to be a part of as many of these as possible in future. :twilightsmile:

Anyway, a very belated good luck/have fun to everyone!

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

The thread is not linked at the current event overview page, I only found it because I started to explore the past ones...

Well, first time writer here (on the write off, that is, though with a bit over 4 months since I actually started writing fics I still consider myself very inexperienced). I can say that I enjoyed writing my entry, and I eagerly await the reviews.

BTW, no need to pull any punches when reviewing my entry; I'm here to learn and improve myself, something I can only do if I actually find out where I need improving :scootangel:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Well, that was successful! I'll go ahead and post the last four reviews to make things simple.

Benevolence: Conceptually, this is on to something, comparing a would-be suicide to Celestia’s own experiences with and thoughts about death. I really like the idea that she places the value of one pony’s life above direct intervention in a crisis. But the execution is just not there. Aside from typos and the like, the narrative is filled with platitudes and Mint is sort of a conglomeration of every jumper ever depicted in a movie, with no real depth to his problems. (Ignoring how likely it is for suicide to exist in Equestria in the first place.) Part of me wonders if the last line is meant to suggest that Celestia is dying as well, which would just be a confusing way to take the piece. At least there’s the kernel of a good story in here; ideas are harder to fix than words.

The Case of the Cowled Changelings: That opening exchange between Fancy Pants and the Guardspony is really good. It just feels right, and that’s rare. I love a good Fancy Pants, which this definitely has, though I must admit he outshines rather everything else in the story. This is nevertheless a nicely tense mystery, so that picks up some of the slack. The twist is nicely executed, to boot, and this ended up being one of my favorites. Not to mention, possibly the only entry without editing errors!

Rebel Angel: I really love the language use in this (though it’s dulled somewhat by typos). Though it gets hard to tell the difference between the various Tsair* words, and I can’t even find an adequate definition for “cael”. But I have to ask: are there any ponies in this story? It’s so far removed from the show that you might as well drop any pretense of it being fanfiction, change a few words, and go try to get it published. Before you do that, I’d recommend tightening up the dialogue first. It’s very transparently expository, especially at the beginning, and that holds this back a lot. That and, well, it’s a fairly pat storyline — the outcast and the chief’s daughter fighting for their illicit love — even if you’ve crafted a rather unique and memorable culture to contain it. But seriously, if this is what you’re writing, quit holding yourself back with the fanfic stuff. I mean that as a compliment.

Brave Front: Oh! I read that first part and thought “Is this a Fallout: Equestria side story?” and then it took me a few seconds after seeing “Shining Armor” to figure it out. (Though I wonder how many people will get it, based as it is on side canons?) The writing seems to get worse as the story progresses, culminating in a sadly weak ending. I noticed significantly more errors cropping up as it went on, not to mention that while the first scene with Cadence and Shining is great, the dialogue afterward is noticeably flatter. My big problem with this story, though, is that absolutely nothing is explained. You’ve gone into a good amount of detail filling out Cadence’s backstory, linking it to the attack on Canterlot, and then she's having night terrors and you turn her parents into flutterponies (???), and I have no idea what any of it’s supposed to mean. I did at least appreciate this for the backstory, though, it’s very much a story I wanted to read. I just won’t be surprised if later I find out you got caught by the deadline and were missing a scene.

That awkward, rage-inducing feeling when you get an *awesome* prompt idea... after the contest is ended :applecry::raritycry::raritydespair:

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

I've finally finished reading the entries. Some quite interesting ones in the mix, I'm eagerly awaiting for the reviews :twilightsmile:

3317415
It's why I keep a private file with plenty of prompt ideas, and jot down there anything interesting I think about; more than once I've used something from that file to fulfill a prompt with a tight deadline, even something as silly as "Discord saves Luna by turning the rockets that would hit her into pies" can sometimes become a fic :scootangel:

FloydienSlip
Group Contributor

3312696 It's been made clear that I wasn't clear. I did not enter the Writeoff, as I ran out of time. If you'd like feedback on your story, do not hesitate to inbox me, and I'll get to it as soon as I can.

alexmagnet
Group Contributor

Luckily for me I'm not in this thing at all, so here are all my reviews since I forced myself to read all the fics in one sitting. I'm absolutely sure it shows in my reviews. You can see my patience wearing thin.
Since I’m writing this intro bit after having read all the fics, I just want to say that I’m surprised there weren’t any “villains who aren’t really villains” fics, and I’m supremely disappointed no one wrote a Trixie fic.

Benevolence

All right, so I opened up this fic immediately expecting some shit about Celestia being really benevolent, but behind her “mask” she’s just a scared little girl or something silly like that. She’s just putting on a tough face for the world. Welp, what I got was the first half of that… but not the second, which means this doesn’t even really fit with the prompt since beneath Celestia’s “mask”... SHE’S STILL THE GODDAMN SAME.

Look, I don’t want to harp on this fic too much because it’s not the worst thing I’ve read by far, but it’s decidedly mediocre, maybe even leaning towards bad. See, you have the whole thing split up into like three different scenes or whatever, but rather than provide a cool narrative that lets us see Celestia sort of “growing up” or whatever, it just feels rather disjointed. You jump from one scene to the next seemingly at random, and the whole fic suffers for it. I feel like you’ve got a decent, if tired, idea here, and you really just need to expand what you’ve got to make it better.

Court Musician

Boy, I don’t really know what to say about this one. There’s a lot going on, and while I would normally say that’s a good thing, since it gives the story depth, this just felt… incomplete. There’s like 8 different subplots going on, and then they all just smash together right at the end without warning. I get the feeling you wanted the ending to be “ambiguous”, but the way it’s worded doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

Also, I cannot figure out Celestia’s characterization in this. She’s either being a coy bitch, or is completely oblivious, but I think the former is more likely, though that leads me to the conclusion that Celestia is kind of a dick in this, which is how I read it. I’ll be the first to admit that I never liked the idea of Celestia having an assistant, it just doesn’t seem like something she would do, but that’s really just a personal thing. It can certainly work… just not here. Pinwheel is, for all intents and purposes, entirely incidental. She could’ve been anyone since she’s so utterly boring. There’s nothing really there to make us like her, or care for her (except the jealousy she feels towards Octavia, that was at least well done… sort of). Overall I’d say this was pretty okay… riiiiiiight up until the end, and then it just completely ruined any affection I had for this story.

This could be improved by making Pinwheel more likeable, giving me a reason to believe the “choice” between Patina and Celestia was even a real choice to begin with since she shows ZERO interest in him until right at the end when she realizes it might just be easier than falling in love with Celestia, and also by giving Octavia more screentime. She just disappears at the end and her presence suddenly feels like it was all unnecessary.

The Case of the Cowled Changelings

Fuckin’... I don’t even know. It’s like Clue, but without any of the likeable characters or fun dialogue. I certainly wouldn’t say this was bad. It’s pretty all right… I guess, but goddamn was I bored reading it. Like, there’s just so much shit going on, and then—WHOA! ANOTHER CHANGELING. I mean, it just got old super quick. I was honestly expecting that literally everyone was going to be a changeling in the end, including Fancy Pants. I think the main problem is that we are quite literally dumped into the middle of this scene with no idea how we got here, and we only find out vaguely what happened beforehand. At least Clue actually gave plenty of backstory. Also, I’m not entirely convinced FP isn’t a changeling. Like, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Anyway, like I said, this was at least halfway decent at what it was attempting to do, but you should probably have some more mystery added in here, and better dialogue because a lot of it was just… bleh.

A Rubber Mask of Emotions

Welp, I think I found my favorite fic.

To be fair, I really liked the beginning of this because Twilight was so well written, then you got the other characters who were, at best, okay. The humor is pretty good for the most part, very much my style (though less silly), so I liked that, but it did fall flat a few times. The whole “twist” ending was pretty predictable, but it didn’t necessarily make the ride any less enjoyable it just made the ending a bit… eh. Overall though I’d say this was pretty decent, and I enjoyed it far more than the other fics so far.

Rebel Angel

2edgy4me title and a quote that isn’t even a real quote to start off the fic? Gotta tell ya, buddy… you’re already working against negative points from me.

Y’know what? I think “2edgy4me” just about sums up my feelings on this fic as a whole. The dialogue is stilted, the characters one-dimensional, and the whole plot utterly contrived and pointless. I would talk about how all the proper nouns (besides Morning Star) are terrible, or how even though it’s clear to me these are likely batponies you never come right out and say it and that’s kind of weird, or I could even talk about how this fic is so damn edgy, if I didn’t know better I’d say it was written while you sat in a pile of broken glass, but instead I’m just going to walk away.

A Taxing Situation

Ha! Taxes! I get it!

A fic about a Derpy who loves history so much that she wants to show people how interesting it can be so that they’ll actually learn something? Is this fic about me? I gotta say, though, this fic really hit a lot of the right notes for me. The pacing was a bit wonky, and the whole thing just flew by, but the dialogue, the plot, the characters, it all came together for a nice little slice of life piece that I rather enjoyed. Is it perfect? No. Do I really care all that much that it’s not perfect? Also no. Bottom line is that this was enjoyable and well-written, so bravo, author. Encore! Encore!

Brave Front

What the actual fuck is going on in this fic? At first I thought it was boring, then it got interesting, then it just got nonsensical, then it went balls-deep into Crazytown, then it jumped back and forth between scenes like a schizophrenic jackrabbit, then it ended, and I have no idea what to think of anything. I honestly don’t know what to say about this fic. I don’t think I liked it, but I didn’t dislike it either. I think I’m going to have to reread it before I make any real judgments.

The Masked Mare of Canterlot

So hang on, lemme get this straight… Luna is Mare-Do-Well? Uhh… okay, sure. I guess I can accept that. I’ll at least give you credit for doing something I haven’t seen done before, but I won’t give you credit for having very dry writing. Despite the fact that this wasn’t very long, it was a bit of a chore to get through, and not the least because I was not at all invested in anything that was happening. I mean, to be completely honest, I don’t even fully know what was going on. I mean, there was something an amulet, and the Power Ponies showed up, or were mentioned, or something. I really thought that was going to go somewhere. I dunno, man. There’s just nothing in this fic that really grabbed me. It was just meh all around.

Party Animal

Five sentences in and I’m ready to be done with this fic. If this reads the way it’s supposed to read, then Pinkie’s friends just kicked her out of Ponyville… which is gonna take some massive concessions to accept. But all right, let’s see where you’re going with this.

Boy, so even making that one major concession, you’re still going to have to make a dozen more, each more ridiculous than the last. I mean, by the end, Pinkie Pie is literally fighting mist, which yeah, I get it, is a callback to the whole “Giggle at the Ghostie” thing, but c’mon. She explodes this purple shit all over town by laughing at it, and this was after some really dark shit about seeing Twilight’s skull and stuff. I don’t think this fic was bad, per se, but goddamn is it trying hard to make me not like it. I think my major problem is that this whole thing hinges on Twilight and Co. banishing Pinkie from Ponyville, which I can’t even see being reasonable if you showed us the reason, but in this it just happens and we have to accept it to move on. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me.

Never Stop Fighting

Last I checked (and believe me, I check everyday) ponies aren’t carnivores, so seeing a pony trap and kill rabbit to eat it is really disconcerting. Also “Bluey”... :/

So, to sum up my overall feeling for this fic, here’s a helpful gif:

archonix
Group Contributor

3319481 On the last point: they're opportunistic omnivores and have been known to seek out meat and even occasionally hunt small animals, especially in situations where their regular food sources are in short supply.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3319481

I just want to say that I’m surprised there weren’t any “villains who aren’t really villains

Yeah, I was kind of surprised by that myself.

horizon
Group Admin

> inb4 alex votes everything 1

3319481 3319716
Recommended reading: BronyWriter's Broken Gladiator, which was submitted to (and won first place in) the Everfree NW "Villains, Rivals, Friends?" writing competition, could have been copied and pasted into this competition unchanged. It's about Mane-iac and her motives as a supervillain and it's really well done.

Writing up my own set of reviews! Will post hopefully today?

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

3319481
I love Trixie too much to write anything with her if I don't think I can do her justice (by my standards, which, judging by your post, would not likely measure up to yours :scootangel:).

(Actually, Trixie would be my second choice for this contest, due to the fact I picture her, in my headcanon, as being strong in illusionary magic, but I had another idea more developed.)

3319641
In the show itself, pay attention to the snacks Rarity provide to the fillies in Inspiration Manifestation (at 13m35s); it's not fully vegetarian. In the show they also eat eggs (with a direct example provided in Sisterhooves Social, 3m27s into the episode). Fluttershy also gives fish to her otters at the start of Dragonshy, taking the fish from a basket, suggesting that either she, or somepony else, fished them.

So, while the show doesn't provide direct examples, I could imagine even ponies from the show hunting small animals or eating red meat in dire enough circumstances.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3319946
I was thinking about that! It's a perfect example of the concept. :D

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

InquisitorM did some reviews!

But I guess he's not in the group or something, so click here for them.

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